Sharon has been published with an article in the July 2020 Tempe Public Library Newsletter, Pen to Paper Resources for Authors, with an article entitled Five Ways to Lose Your Reader on the First Page. A simple and straightforward look at five different traps that push...
My 2017 writing year has already been a whirl of fabulous writing events and appearances. [caption id="attachment_204" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Sharon Skinner Book Appearance[/caption] January was a super busy month. Lots of travel and teaching/presenting. As you know, I taught a half-day workshop at the ASU Virginia G Piper...
My new year of writing and teaching is off to a great start. On January 6th, I signed an agreement with the Arizona State Library Association to become the 2017 Summer Writer in Residence at Scottsdale Public Library. I will be providing a series of six creative...
So, back to writing picture books, Conference Critiques (and the Cinderella Dream).
I submitted my PB ms for a critique at the 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference, knowing full well that the true purpose of submitting for critique critiques is to get professional level feedback on the work. However, like many authors and illustrators, deep in my heart, I hoped for the Cinderella dream. You know, the one where the glass slipper fits so perfectly, the assigned agent/editor makes an immediate offer of representation/publication. Yeah. That’s the one.
Since the beginning of this writing journey, I have wanted to write a picture book. And, like many authors, I have more than one abandoned picture book manuscript to my name. I sometimes imagine them huddling together in a drawer somewhere, trying to keep warm. Out of sight, but not necessarily out of mind. I still love the ideas for those stories deeply, but I just could not figure out how to make them work.
While writing novels is not particularly easy, I found myself better able to figure out the structure of the longer format. I still had to study my craft, and learn to edit with an iron fisted pen, but it has always felt more natural to me than the shorter, “easier” children’s picture book format.
Plot points, crisis, and climax, oh my! I have been reading up on plotting, taking a deep dive into process and techniques, attempting to distill the information that others have provided in books like The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen, and The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman into something that I can easily absorb and make part of my ingrained writing process and inform my teaching process, as well.
This is not the first time I have delved into plot at this level. A couple of years ago, I published an essay about plot called “Plot Isn’t Just a Four-Letter Word,” You can find it on line here for free.
When writing, I start from character, not simply because I think it’s a great place to start—although, for me, it’s mostly character engagement that keeps me reading (or writing) a book or story—but more so because that’s just the way my brain works.
So, when describing the landscape/creating the setting for the book, everything I see is filtered through the eyes of my characters. This is a huge plus in developing voice and for showing the character’s emotional journey, because the world the reader sees is from the perspective of the characters living in and experiencing it.